About Us

Evaluation that fosters positive change.

Evaluation Specialists is a woman-and LGBTQ-owned small business. We are based in California, with staff working and living in California, Washington, and Colorado. We provide comprehensive evaluation and research services. Our goal is to support learning and program improvement in organizations working at community, state, and national levels.

Our team is comprised of senior-level staff. Our diverse expertise offers clients a range of methods to answer important, real-world questions and support program and system improvement as the work unfolds.

We support world bettering programs, policies, and systems so they can do the most for good. These include non-profit organizations, foundations, government agencies, universities, and communities primarily in the fields of health promotion, prevention, and education.

We believe we have a role as evaluators to work towards and in ways that promote social justice. We conduct our work in ways that support the unravelling of systemic oppression and contribute to equity.  By equity, we mean structures and systems that are fair and just. We adhere to principles of social justice and guidance from the Equitable Evaluation Initiative.

How We Work

Our style is collaborative. We partner with our clients to craft and implement evaluation plans. We focus our energies on timely, accurate, actionable results that measurably benefit the communities our clients serve.

Our plans are responsive. Especially when you’re helping people, you must be agile. Goals change. Contexts change. We encourage rigorous, multi-method approaches that emphasize inclusiveness and a cultural fit.

Our products are shareable. We ally with our clients to ensure our work together engages stakeholders, fosters evaluation use, and inspires program improvement.

Our results are clear and actionable. We answer your key questions and help identify future directions. We take the details and weave them into a full rich story.

Our Principles

Client Collaboration

We believe in the power of collaboration. Through scheduled communication and work sessions, we work closely with our clients throughout all stages of an evaluation to ensure we understand and incorporate their program goals and values.

Scientific Rigor

We are experts in the selection and use of rigorous qualitative and quantitative methods.

Social Justice

We work with clients committed to reducing disparities and injustice. We strive to include the voices of the people they serve.

Cultural fit

We match and adapt research and evaluation methods to a program’s cultural context.

Actionable Findings

From start to finish we focus on creating knowledge that can be readily applied to improve programs and increase positive impacts.

Our Focus Areas

Mental, physical and sexual health

Community-based prevention and health promotion

Violence prevention

Substance abuse prevention

School food and wellness

Leadership and youth development

Early childhood education

Experiential learning

Meet Your New Corps of Collaborators


  • Jan Vanslyke, PhD, MSW
    Owner and Lead Evaluator
    Jan is the Founder of Evaluation Specialists. She has more than twenty years experience leading the development and implementation of research and evaluation plans in social welfare and public health, at community, state, and national levels.
  • Melissa Jaramillo
    Evaluator and Administrative Manager

    Melissa Jaramillo was the very first ever Evaluation Specialists employee. And now, after taking leave for a few years to be with her kids, she’s back as our Administrative Manager. She comes with experience in administrative support and quality control. When she’s not organizing us, she and her husband are wrangling their children and dogs in San Diego, California. If a quiet minute finds her, she’s delighted to catch up on her book club book.

  • Heather Vadun
    Heather manages the accounting for Evaluation Specialists.


  • Marisa Allen, PHD
    Affiliate Evaluator

    Marisa is a senior-level professional with over fifteen years experience providing comprehensive programmatic and evaluation services to non-profit organizations, government agencies, and foundations working across the United States.

  • Blair Beadnell, PhD
    Affiliate Evaluator
    Blair has over twenty years years of experience conducting and consulting on behavioral research on topics such as sexual and health risk-taking, substance use and abuse, and interpersonal violence and conducting federally-funded studies.
  • Damian Rainey
    Affiliate Evaluator
    Damian has over fifteen years of experience conducting quantitative and qualitative research in tech, healthcare, and public policy. He uses this background to evaluate and improve people's experiences with products, services, and communities.


  • Amanda Mathies, MPS
    Affiliate Evaluator

    Amanda's expertise includes designing and implementing comprehensive mixed-method evaluation plans, producing deliverables that encourage utilization, and international development.


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